Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mike Brown

Got this from the internet:

Before I begin, I'd like to say that the Mike Brown situation is tragic.  Regardless of how it all turns out, regardless of whether or not the shooting was justified, the death of a human being is nothing to take lightly, saying nothing of the families and friends that are affected by the tragedy.  The issue I have, is the response of the urban community to this situation.  Rather than show patience and wait for the facts to unravel before making a move, the urban community made a very hasty emotional response to the situation.  Before ya'll start hating and saying stupid sh*t, just no I ain't no cop lover, and I ain't white, I'm black and I'm from Stockton Ca, one of the realest cities out there.  I'm here stating facts:


I find this video interesting because the first half of it clearly depicts the issues I have with the urban communities response to the Mike Brown situation.  As soon as the video starts, JP (the man on the left) starts talking about Eric Garner and mentions that how It's not ok to choke someone selling single cigarettes and Sho Baraka (the man on the right, henceforth Sho) chimes in and explains that cops should've talked to Garner to get him to stop and choking someone out should be the last resort.  Both of these statements and opinions are correct, but both JP and Sho don't seem to be aware of what really happened with the Gardner situation.  Lets watch the video.


Disclaimer:  I have a bit of an issue with the video because it appears to be edited.  At 1:18 seconds, the video cuts from a side view of the white officer standing next to a woman, to a back view of the same officer minus the woman.  How much time passed? How long were they talking to him?  The video cuts again at 1:45.  At about 2:19 seconds, the white officer is standing there calmly and suddenly, at 2:20 seconds, the video cuts to Garner getting arrested.  This raises a question.  Why was the video edited? What did they leave out? 

JP says the officers should talk to him.  Well, according to the video above and the videos around the internet, we see just that. The officers are calmly talking to Garner from 1:22 to 2:19, and, in actuality, it looks like Garner is doing the majority of the talking, so the officers are simply listening.  Either way, it depicts something entirely different than JP and Sho's insinuation that the cops did not talk to Garner and choked him to death.   Judging from Garners own words, he has been talked to MULTIPLE TIMES (he was also arrested previously for a similar offense).  Why else would Garner say "I told you the last time, please just leave me alone?"  If they weren't constantly talking to him, why would Garner accuse the police of constantly harassing him.  So the facts clearly show that Garner was talked to before.
The white cop goes up to Garner and they initially start trying to arrest him with no violence.  All Garner had to do was put his hands behind his back, turn around, and let them place the cuffs on him and if there was a misunderstanding or an issue, clear it up in court.  Instead, he resisted arrest and the cop applies a choke hold.  Now, let's put our thinking caps on.  Did the cop know Garner had asthma? No, how could he? So we can safely assume (unless there is something that indicates otherwise) that the cop did not know Garner had asthma, and as a result, we can also safely assume that the cop applied the choke hold because Garner was resisting arrest, not because he knew Garner had asthma and was trying to kill him.  As they all went to the ground Garner said "I can't breathe I cant breathe."  If you listen carefully, around 2:37, you hear Garner say in a strangled voice, "I can't breathe," at which point it looks like the cop releases the choke hold, and places his hand on Garners head.  It seems like, if someone looks at the video and watches it with a critical eye, the cops are doing everything that JP and Sho suggests a cop should do.  They talk to Garner, they listen to Garner, they try to arrest Garner without violence, Garner resists, so the cops apply a choke hold, Garner says I can't breathe, and the cop releases the choke hold.  Unfortunately, Garner died.  Tragic indeed, but were the cops  fault? No. Additionally, from a law enforcement perspective, should cops stop arresting everyone that says they can't breathe? People getting arrested usually, for the most part, will say or do anything they can to avoid being arrested, so as cops, what should be done? Take the handcuffs off? Stop attempting to subdue the individual? and allow them to gain an advantage, potentially retrieve a weapon.  It's not an easy situation, but generally, to be effective at law enforcement, someone simply saying "I can't breathe" should not be a 'get out of handcuffs or stop arresting' card.   JP brings up a point about not breathing in the video, but bringing up the point is not the same thing as addressing the point or refuting it. 
Conclusion:  JP and Sho are wrong about what happened to Garner.  Not just a little bit wrong either, but spectacularly wrong. The cops spent a good amount of time talking and listening to Garner, (Ya know, because we should be faster to listen than speak) despite JP and Sho's insinuation (joking or otherwise) that the cops didn't try and talk to Garner before arresting him.  The cops didn't "Choke slam the dude" either, they applied a choke hold after Garner resisted arrest and released it once he said he couldn't breathe.  I'm just assuming here, but I am going to guess that JP and Sho are wrong because they didn't do the research before jumping on the black man victimization outrage bandwagon.  It's really sad that amongst black people there is no discussion about how Garner himself could've prevented this situation by either not committing a crime in the first place, or simply cooperating with the cops.  IMO, this is why our community is a mess, because we do not hold each other accountable for our actions, and its perpetuated by everyone, from the top to the bottom.  It's always everyone else's fault.  No different than Adam blaming Eve and Eve blaming the snake.  This type of finger pointing combined with the lack of intelligent research and conversation is why our community is at the state it's in.  Whether JP or Sho were joking or adding entertainment value to their points is irrelevant, because neither did the proper research before giving their opinions and it's this type of disregard for wisdom (wisdom would be doing adequate research, then giving your opinion) that's hurting our community.  Furthermore, they don't seem to be able to look at any situation from a law enforcement perspective.

At 1:47, JP says the police treat black neighborhoods different than other neighborhoods.  Does JP not realize that black neighborhoods have more crime than white neighborhoods? Does JP not realize that the majority of the people in black neighborhoods have different (aggressive) attitudes towards cops than people in white neighborhoods? Or does JP think the multiple statistics, the anecdotal and observable evidence,  that show black people commit the most crimes and are very aggressive when to comes to cops is somehow racist evidence? Or those stats don't matter? A fact is a fact.  The most common response to that is 'Black communities are hostile to cops because cops have a history of being brutal to black communities.'  This is true, but its irrelevant.  Does that fact somehow negate the fact that black communities commit a lot of crime and are hostile to cops? No it does not.  The existence of one fact does not negate the existence of the other.  Both facts can be in existence at the same time.  So it is true that the cops have a history of brutality when it comes to black communities, it is also true that black communities commit the most violent crime and are hostile to cops.  In regards to the statistics, the exact number may not be accurate, but the basic premise is true.  Black people commit violent crimes at a much higher rate than white people, which is why cops will treat black people differently than white people.  In the suburbs, you don't really have to worry about the person you're talking to has a gun or a squad of people ready to fire on you if something goes wrong.  Keep in mind, the exception does not disprove the rule.  Just because you can find a report or two of a crime or gun violence in the suburbs doesn't disprove the fact, the reality, that in predominately white neighborhoods (aka the suburbs), there is a very low amount of violent crime, and in black communities, there is a very high amount of violent crime.
At 2:12 Sho talks about how antagonizing it is because he didn't hear anything about the shooting of an unarmed teen, instead he just heard that there were mobs gathering in STL.  First of all, I heard about the shooting of an unarmed teen before I heard about the "mobs."  If it's antagonizing because Sho heard about the mobs before he heard about the shooting, does that make it not antagonizing when I heard about the shooting before I heard about the mobs?  Furthermore, Sho  went on to say the media did not describe people protesting the world bank as a mob (I'm assuming he was talking about operation wall street), or how people turning over and burning cars aren't described as mobs.  First off, the difference between OWS and Ferguson was OWS wasn't looting, destroying buildings, destroying cars etc. etc.  Sho said, "even when they turn over cars and burn them up, they're not mobs."  This is wrong.  A quick google search showed different media outlets describing the Lakers fans as mobs after the 2010 Victory. 

An additional speedy google search showed media outlets describing the people that participated in the 08 Philadelphia riot as a mob. 

If a quick google search shows that Sho is wrong, imagine what a thorough one would reveal.
At around 3:10, Sho says there are reports of police taunting the crowd.  Are these reports accurate?
At around 4:07, Sho calls this stuff an epidemic.  This hardly qualifies as an epidemic.  No matter how strongly you or anyone else may feel (key word feel), it is far from an epidemic.
Dictionary.com describes epidemic as follows:
1.Also, epidemical. (of a disease) affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.

2.extremely prevalent; widespread.
3.a temporary prevalence of a disease.

4.a rapid spread or increase in the occurrence of something:
"an epidemic of riots."

If three instances of 'police killing unarmed black men' in a month is an epidemic, then what else is considered an epidemic because it happens three times a month? Why only apply it to cops killing unarmed black men? why not anything else? why the double starndard? This is bad logic.
At around 4:20 Sho talks about Viper threat management.  Sho is horribly horribly misinformed about the Viper Threat Management group (henceforth VTMG).  Sho seems to think that VTMG 'approach with love rhetoric' should be applied to all police everywhere, and all police need to do is 'talk it out' and if you approach someone with love then everything would be so happy with rainbows and kittens (that was exaggeration to illustrate a point).  What Sho doesn't seem to understand (most likely because the depth of his research was that one youtube video and the VTMG website) is VTMG is a protective services company that does protective service work.  They only do one aspect of law enforcement.  They have no arrest record because their job isn't to arrest people.  They can't! They're a private company; they have no real authority to arrest.  They don't have to use guns because they aren't running operations to raid people distributing drugs from their house.  VTMG will have an easier time deescalating problems and lowering violent encounters because the main thing that makes criminals violent in the first place (in the context of encounters with the police) is the threat of going to jail.  Since VTMG cannot take anyone to jail, criminals don't feel the need to be violent when they interact with them.  VTMG's job is protection.  How many drug dealers did they get off the street? How many in progress robberies have they stopped with their 'approach with love rhetoric.'  Sho seems to be very uninformed when it very simple concepts of law enforcement. 
Around 5:47, JP and Sho are talking about all police aren't bad and Sho hasn't had any good contact with the police.  That's the personal opinion of JP and Sho, so theres no way one can verify if he's being accurate, but based upon how badly misinformed they both seem to be, one wonders if Sho's problems with police aren't the result of his own attitude.  Perhaps he should sit down with one of his friends in the force and really get educated about the role of law enforcement, what types of jobs they preform, and how they go about doing their duties and make sure the cop doesn't blow you off as 'just another black man that doesn't understand cops.'  Make sure he really explains to you how things work from his perspective.

Around 6:13, JP brings up conspiracy theories about cops allowing crime to exist because if it didn't, they would be out of a job.  This is simply more finger pointing and blaming.  What evidence does JP have, real evidence, not conspiracy theories, but real evidence?  Most importantly, not a single hint of accountability within the black community.  JP says nothing about people in black communities not committing crimes in the first place.  Sho says something about how cops don't have a passion for people and they don't to serve and protect.  Sho is demonstrating classic tunnel vision here.  He's too focused on the black community and he refuses to look outside of it.  Getting rid of the drug dealer protects people.  Getting rid of bad guys protects citizens, so cops protect and serve.  Killing innocent people,  neither protects or serves anyone, but JP and Sho have yet to give a legitimate example of cops killing an innocent person (not saying it hasn't happened, because it has, but in the context of this video they have not).  Sho's attempts to blanket an entire race of people as 'the least of us' doesn't make them all innocent.

Sho brings up how every time an authority figure kills an innocent black person, people point out that black people kill each other every day.  Sho calls it misdirection and depending on the context, he may be right, but it depends on the context.  I find it interesting that one "innocent" black male is killed and the city of STL starts rioting and solidarity is shown everywhere, but when an innocent little girl dies from gang violence, the solidarity and riots are nowhere to be found, and while that doesn't deal with the issue of authorities killing innocents, it does point out the black community's lack of accountability and responsibility.  Rioting and solidarity is only shown when a white cop does it.  When it comes to the issue of authorities killing innocents, there's no excuse for that, but again, in regards to this video, JP and Sho have not shown any innocents being killed by the police.  They're just assuming the cops killed another innocent black male because, for some reason, everything the black community says is true and should be taken at face value.

At around 7:27 Sho blames the government.  More finger pointing.  Brown was in this predicament because he robbed a convenience store and thought he was going to go to jail when the cop car rolled up on him.  He probably fought the cop, reached for his gun, the cop shoved him off, brown charged, and the cop shot him.  The whole mike brown incident, to include JP and Shos response, shows exactly what is wrong with our community and culture.  Brown is shot by the cops and Browns friend, says Brown had his hands up in surrender and the cop shot him execution style.  That seems to be all JP, Sho and the black community need to jump on the injustice bandwagon. No need to do any research, no need to be wise and wait for further info, no question on the veracity of the witness, nothing.  Then, later it comes out that brown was involved in a robbery (which Browns friend neglected to mention).  Finally, the autopsy came out and it completely contradicts Browns friends statement.  No shots in the back, a shot in the top of the head and in the arm.  Is there a single mention of any of this? No.  Is there a single mention that Brown friend lied? No.  The black community continues on as if none of this matters, because they're past the point of no return.  They're fully invested and for anyone to admit they're wrong and they rushed into it to fast would be too humbling, because when it comes to the injustice band wagon, there's no room for be humble, there's no room for wisdom, there's no room for accountability.  If that cop shot an innocent mike brown, then he should be held accountable, but wait until you have all of the facts before opening your mouth.

 Sho makes a great point about not expecting the government to care about the inner city and how black people need to come in, own business, and make relationships.  I completely agree.  This is a great point and we won't see a change until this happens, but his whole 'develop a relationship' rhetoric is really na├»ve.  Sho seems to think that all you have to do is 'develop a relationship' and people won't commit crimes.  At some point, someone is going to have to go to jail, and that is where the potential for violence comes from and no amount of talking and relationships is going to make that any easier.

From 9 minutes on, Sho finally makes a lot of sense and starts talking about communities coming together and helping themselves and not relying on government.  The only issue I have is the people in black neighborhoods don't want anything to do with educated black people.  We are called white washed, uncle toms, etc. etc. and usually shunned, but I do agree, that we need to find a better way to help our people, but the sort of poor logic based off of bad information and poor research  displayed in the initial part of the video only perpetuates the problem.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wait...it's racist?

Check out this 7 minute excerpt between Tavis Smiley and Cornell West.  I find it absolutely hilarious and hypocritical when they claim that the 'conservatives' that are 'attacking' black liberation theology (which in itself is racist) are racist.  What's even more funny is the fact that it's another black man that's attacking black liberation theology, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it doesn't matter the quality of the argument or who is presenting the argument.  All that matters is the fact that SOMEONE, ANYONE, is making an argument in the first place.  That's all it takes to be considered a racist! just making an argument! You've got objective facts that support your argument? TOO BAD! DOESN'T MATTER! YOU'RE AUTOMATICALLY RACIST FOR MAKING THE ARGUMENT IN THE FIRST PLACE! and let's not forget how its ok for Obama to talk about poverty, but if Romney does it, then suddenly its like a 'musician that wants to make music but hates the notes.'  It's no wonder that black people are in the sad state they're in these days when we have these two marxist idiots that supposed to be our 'intellectual leaders.'

Friday, January 27, 2012

Atheism isn't a religion?

If it wasn't obvious before, it should be now.

Author Alain de Botton announced plans to build an Atheist temple in the U.K., reports DeZeen magazine.

A collaboration with Tom Greenall Architects, the structure will be built in the City of London.

Dedicated to the idea of perspective, the black tower will scale 46 meters (150 ft), with each centimeter honoring earth's age of 4.6 billion years, notes Wired. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

This reinforces two points I've been making about atheists and atheism. First off, in order to be an atheist, one must engage in a certain form of special pleading. This form of special pleading, which I'll dub "atheist pleading" (the name is a placeholder) is when they arrive at a conclusion after applying what seems like sound "reasoning" or "logic," but if the same "reasoning" or "logic" were applied to a relevant analogy, the conclusion reached would be considered ridiculous, absurd and/or illogical. Vacula produced an amazing example of this when he said the following:

Shifting responsibility here doesn't solve the problem because the 'ball is in God's court.' The issue at hand is "Why doesn't God reveal himself," not "Why should it be up to God, humans should find God." Shifting responsibility might solve problems in other cases, for sure, but it's not going to here.

As you can see here, Vacula applied what seems like sound reasoning or logic. He claimed that shifting responsibility doesn't solve the problem because the 'ball is in Gods court.' The reasoning seems to be sound, until you take that same reasoning and logic and apply it to a relevant analogy, like a husband cheating on his wife. If you were to say the ball is in the victims court, and the wife has the responsibility to operate on the unfaithful husbands terms, your logic and reasoning would rightly be considered absurd.

The second point is simply the fact that atheists are attempting to become the thing they hate the most. Atheists hate religion, God, etc. etc. and yet it seems they're doing everything in their power to be completely similar to it. Instead of "man of faith" they say "man of science." They claim they can be moral and good people, just like, or even better than, religious people. They claim to have their "moral codes" just like religious people. They claim an "origin of life," just like religious people. Now, they're building temples....just like religious people.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Intellectual Lightweights: Vacula

I really enjoyed Vaculas response. Not only were his logical errors more humorous the 2nd time around, but it seems he read my post about typical skeptic responses and decided (unintentionally I'm sure) to provide us with some nice examples, which I will will be its own post in the future. At the present moment we'll deal with his response to me, which can be found here.

As I noted, I didn't argue that divine hiddenness serves as a defeater for belief in the Christian god, but rather responded to the defenses theists give to answer the problem. "Truth in Fighting," though, assumes this throughout the post - which is obviously problematic

Laughable and ironic since I never once said nor assumed that your argument is a defeater for God.  I was simply pointing out the holes on your argument.  Looks like the misunderstanding was on your part.

I would wager that engaging in more than fifteen personal attacks in one post while responding to someone's comments makes a person look really bad and would lead readers to not to even take the person seriously - and for good reason

Really just had to point this one out.  Another sensitive skeptic whining about how personal attacks is silly since these personal attacks backed by evidence.  Calling you ignorant and clueless is about as much as a personal attack as calling a tall man tall.  Both assertions are nothing more than statements made after observing the availae evidence.  I see a man who is 7 ft I call him tall.  I see a skeptic say ignorant things, I call him ignorant.  It's that simple.

I agree that the Bible doesn't describe God as all-loving. This is not, though, a problem for me, but rather the theists. The 'god concept' typically described to me is all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing - and this is how many academic theists and Christian philosophers believe God to be. Some, like William Lane Craig, for example, profess that God is all-loving even in the face of slaughter. Others, particularly in problem of evil discussions, will try to argue that evil is needed for 'soul-building' and that we can know what good is. Some even argue that God has sufficient reasons, of course, for permitting evil and he still remains all-good. If the all-loving attribute were removed from God, the problem of evil wouldn't even be a problem; all-loving then, it seems means all-loving in the sense that most persons understand it.

You need to work on your reading comprehension Vacula.  I said the bible does not describe God as all loving if the definition of love is defined as "some sort of fuzzy, feel good, warm emotion." since the bible does not describe Gods love in said way and you have yet to provide a definition of the word love in a sense that most persons understand it, I'm going to just mark this as another failure for you.

This analogy fails; persons have good reason to believe that CEOs and military leaders exist. the belief that these persons exist is overwhelmingly reasonable while the belief in God, as theists would even admit, is not on par with belief that Wal-Mart has a CEO. The person applying to be a Wal-Mart worker or a solider additionally has no good reason to meet the CEO or military leaders before enlisting. I would wager, though, that persons should want to have good reasons to believe God exists before 'enlisting' in the Christian faith. I would get a job or enlist in the military not because I have sufficient warrant to believe that CEOs or military leaders exist, but rather because I want to make money, serve the country, etc.

This is about existence now? it's not about God hiding? is this more skeptic double standards? Vacula had absolutely no problems skipping the question of whether or not God exists and assuming His existence in order to ask why He is hidden from us.  It's pretty clear at this point that this whole 'divine hiddenness argument' assumes the existence of God.  Rather than questioning if God exists in the first place, Vacula already assumes His existence, then moves on to asserting that God ought to be morally compelled to reveal Himself.  We see the hypocrisy of Vacula in full swing here.  When he is criticizing God, its ok for him to assume His existence, but as soon as he is forced to defend his argument, he immediately decides that the assumed belief in God is inconvient to his argument and thus declares that the existence of God is now in question as there are no good reasons to believe He exists.
Secondly, the confirmed existence of the CEO/military leader is beside the point, since people enlist in the military and apply for jobs completely unaware that the CEO/military leader even exist. Only when applied to religion will you state the leader/CEO i.e. God, should make himself known before you decide to sign up. 

The thrust of the "Why doesn't God reveal himself to me" reasoning is that God ought to be morally compelled -- and for good reasons -- to reveal himself. A god who wants persons to believe he exists and knows that many people are killing each other because of religious differences should feel morally compelled to do so.

An all-powerful and all-knowing being, I would wager, should have a tremendous amount of moral responsibility - and much more so than humans do. If I were all-knowing and all-powerful and, at the same time, I wanted persons to believe I existed and knew that persons were killing each other because of me and I could prevent much of this by revealing myself, I would feel obliged to do so. Persons would be horrified to see me sitting at my computer, for example, doing nothing about this situation. If I should be compelled to reveal myself in this hypothetical scenario, why shouldn't God? After all, he should have much more moral responsibility.

Wait what? Vaculas argument  is entirely based on 'what he would do' if he were God.  Basically God is wrong for not acting how Vaculas would act if vacula himself were in that situation.   Sorry but 'what vacula would do'  is simply more bad logic and special pleading, since basing an argument off of 'what vacula would do' is no more logical than basing an argument off of 'what I would do,' or what 'billy graham would do'.

 Again, I'm not making this argument, but rather am posing a hypothetical. Perhaps, though, in the future, I might craft a divine hiddenness argument. If I were to do so, though, I'd spend a great deal of time supporting the premises of the argument mainly arguing why we should expect God to reveal himself if he existed. As many know, though, absence of evidence is not always evidence of absence, so the atheist ought to be careful when crafting a divine hiddenness argument.

Yes, you are.  Whether you're not making an 'official divine hiddennes argument' is another story, but you are making an argument.  A very very bad argument, but you are making an argument nontheless.
The terms 'belief' and 'faith' are very 'open' terms that can have many different definitions. I would, though, generally define 'belief' as 'assenting to the truth value of a proposition' and 'faith' as 'belief in a proposition that is not backed by reason, argument, and evidence.' Depending on the context, I may define these terms differently and many others may disagree with my definitions. Regardless, those are the definitions I would generally give. My "elementary" or "non existent knowledge" of Christianity has nothing to do with this.
Just to note: this idea of "lack of knowledge about Christianity" is quite peculiar because all sorts of Christians disagree about certain matters...and then claim that atheists lack knowledge. 

Yes they do, i never said they dont, but most Christians  usually tend to agree on the basics, like God wants faith, not just belief,  the type of stuff you've shown to possess no clue of.

The Bible, even, defines faith quite differently throughout. Is faith "belief in things not seen?" Is faith "hope and trust in God?" 

Yes, your ignorance and non existent knowledge of Christianity has a lot to do with it.  The definitions of words must be used in the proper context.  If using the word 'vessel' when talking about an airplane, you do not use the definition "a tubular structure that transports such body fluids as blood and lymph," because we are talking about airplanes, not anatomy.  Similarly, when talking about the type of faith God wants, faith is not defined as "a belief in a proposition that is not backed by reason, argument and evidence."  Not only is that definition false, that definition isn't found in a single credible dictionary.  Neither is belief.  If you possessed a shred of knowldge of Christianity you would know that in the proper context, faith is defined more akin (not exactly) as "trust in God and His actions and promises."  Again, anyone with a brain knows that people aren't going to agree on the exact definition, but they usually agree on the context of a definition.  Most people (that aren't atheists) might not agree on the exact definition of vessel when discussing an airplane, but all of them agree that the anatomy definition doesn't apply.

I use the term unequivocally throughout the post to generally mean " relatively undoubtable." A charitable reading of my post should lead the reader to this conclusion when they especially take care to think about my ideas regarding God "compelling" persons to believe if he revealed himself.

Hilarious.  Now the Vacula is simply making up definitions.  Sorry but 'unequivocally' does not mean that.  Furthermore, even if it did you would still be wrong no matter how you define it since it is very clear you intended  from the begining that God revealing Himself 'unequivocally' is a greater revelation than God revealing Himself through nature and prayer.  God revealed himself in nature, your definition of equivically is obviously taken to mean revealing Himself  in a better way than He is percirved to be now.  Basically Christoans say God revealed Himself in nature and you say God should reveal Himself in a better way than that.  A simple equation is as follows.  Christians say God revealed himself in way X and you say God should reveal Himself in a way greater than X.  Whatever way you define 'unequivocally,' it still means greater than X.  So you still fail since unequivocal does not = revealed in nature, prayer etc. so you cannot argue that Christians will continue to sin If God reveals Himself unequivocally because they do so when Hes revealed Himself in nature, prayer etc.  You've early committed yet another logical error, incorrectly assuming that an unequivocal revelation of God is somehow the same thing as God revealing Himself through nature, it clearly is not.  You're assuming that because we sin even though God hasn't revealed Himself unequivocally(and christian really believe and know!)that we will continue to do so even If He reveals Himself unequiviolly.  The two revelations are not the same, therefore you cannot reasonable state we will act the same.  Its like saying that because people arent getting hurt when they jump off the curb, therefore when they jump off the empire state building they wont get hurt.  

The creative liberties you take when making up these definitions reminds me of humpty dumpty from Alice in wonderland. 

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

Vaculas 'definitions' aren't too much different than humpty Dumpty.  They both seem to think its ok to make a word mean whatever you want it to mean.

This is an example of circular reasoning of the form; it is true because the Bible says so because the Bible says it is true.  

Hey look, another example of your double standards.  It's ok to use the bible to attack Christianity, but when a Christian uses it to defend it, suddenly its circular reasoning.

Let's assume, though, that "Truth" can provide an argument as to why persons should believe this statement regardless of it being in the Bible to be charitable. The verses "Truth" links are concerned with seeing God's face. God is not limited when revealing himself is concerned; showing his face is not the only way he can do so. The 1 Timothy verse admits of a problem with God's omnipotence; if God is all-powerful, he would be able to reveal himself so that persons can see him.

The 2nd verse says nothing about a face.  I put the first one up there to show how you once again fail to be consistent.  Since the word unequivicol (the real definition, not the made up one that Vacula created to convieniently fit his argument) states the following:
1. not equivocal; unambiguous; clear; having only one possible meaning or interpretation: an unequivocal indication of assent; unequivocal proof.
2. absolute; unqualified; not subject to conditions or exceptions:
If no one can see Gods face and live, then human beings seing God unequivocally would be deadly.   one hand you assume that lack of a source won't compel you to believe, and yet on this hand, you have no problems believing despite lack of a source.
Nothing to do with Gods omnipotence.  It says man can't see God, nothing in there about God not being able to do anything.

While we're on the topic of the Bible, several verses actually seem to admit that persons can see God including Genesis 12:7, Genesis 17:1, Genesis 18:1, Genesis 26:2, Genesis 26:24, Genesis 32:30, Genesis 35:9, Genesis 48:3, Exodus 3:16, Exodus 4:5, Exodus 6:3, Exodus 24:9-11, Exodus 33:11, Exodus 33:23, Numbers 14:14, Deut. 5:4, Deut. 34:10, Judges 13:22, 1 Kings 22:19, Job 42:5, Psalm 63:2, Isaiah 6:1, Isaiah 6:5, Ezekiel 1:27, Ezekiel 20:35, Amos 7:7, Amos 9:1, Habakkuk 3:3-5, and Matthew 18:9.

These are completley beside the point, as neither of these sightings show an unequivocal revelation of God.   Hilarious how it says appeared and vacula has no problem assuming that ALL of God appeared and yet in other statements he just assumes only part of God was revealed.

Dare I say it...but my concern is not with demons, but rather humans. Demons obviously play by different rules and are quite unlike humans. I don't, though, find any compelling reason to believe in demons or Satan, so perhaps my previous comment was a silly one.

Try as much as you like to make your cluelessness go away, you aren't fooling anyone, or are you really that idiotic to think I put that scripture there to show you about demons? 

Perhaps, to be charitable, "Truth's" point is to argue that belief alone is not sufficient, but rather something else is needed. What, then, is this something else? "Truth" says that it is impossible to please God without faith. The problem, though, while we are on the topic of the Bible (and this is more testament to why I think arguing about the Bible is often useless), is that the Bible, in Matthew 12:37 says that you can be justified by words.

2 Corinthians 5:10 says that persons are judged according to works. Additionally, faith without works is dead (James 2:17). 2 Corin. 11:15 says that minister's salvation is dependent on works and it is "no great thing" that they are righteous [in faith]. Ezekiel 18:27 says that turning away from wickedness and doing what is lawful and right will save persons...and there's so much more.'

Let's forget your poor attempt at a red herring (since works and words go hand in hand with faith, one is useless without the other and your attempts to seperate them just does more to highlight your ignorance of basic Christian theology) and just focus on the fact that the bible clearly says belief isn't soley what God wants, which shows your original statement to be ignorant.  Again, you are pretty much clueless when it comes to basic theology.

Shifting responsibility here doesn't solve the problem because the 'ball is in God's court.' The issue at hand is "Why doesn't God reveal himself," not "Why should it be up to God, humans should find God." Shifting responsibility might solve problems in other cases, for sure, but it's not going to here.

Yes it does.  We are the ones that messed up and sinned not God.  Just like in any relationship, it is the offending party, not the victims, responsibility to make amends. Who on earth would tell the victim of a rape or the victem of an affair, that she must operate on the terms, conditions, and demands of the person that raped her or the person that cheated on her? again yet another example of how the logic a skeptic applies to religion would be considered ridiculous if it was applied elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Typical Skeptic Responses.

It's so obvious when a skeptic doesn't have a clue about how to respond to a complete and utter destruction of their argument. While the order my differ, their rebuttal almost always contains the following responses.

1. Highlight the insult.
This skeptic cries AD HOMINEM! YOU'VE INSULTED ME! clinging to the false belief that anyone that uses insults must be automatically losing the argument. The skeptic is too ignorant to grasp the fact that you can insult someone and make a good argument at the same time. The two aren't mutually exclusive. It's like looking at the end of the Ali vs Terrell fight, saying the winner of the fight was not Ali because Ali insulted Terrell during the match, even though Ali doesn't have a scratch on him, Terrell has both eyes swollen shut, a broken nose and a couple teeth missing, and the judges and the crowd scored Ali the winner. It's also a red herring logical fallacy since you're concentrating on the insults contained in the argument instead of the argument itself.

It also shows the skeptic can't tell the difference between an ad hominem and an ad hominem fallacy. An ad hominem is just an insult, and ad hominem fallacy is saying an argument is wrong because of a quality the person presenting the argument possess. Example:

Ad hominem: Your feet stink.
Ad hominmen fallacy. Your argument is wrong because your feet stink.

2. Miss the Point.

There are so many variants of this. Skeptics usually don't possess a lot of knowledge regarding Christianity, logic or history so when they're confronted with something they don't understand, an argument or rebuttal that can't be found on google, a popular skeptic website, and isn't a regular talking point or argument, they usually pick out a couple words or concepts from your argument and begin to think you're talking about *insert popular atheist christian argument here* and make an argument to that. It's a strawman fallacy, since the skeptic is responding to an argument that was never made.

3. Ignore it.

They simply ignore the point or argument and continue on as if it was never said.

4. Appeal to authority

The skeptic parrots an argument given by some authoritative figure that holds some sort of credentials that are supposed to be impressive. A bad argument is a bad argument, no matter who says it. 2+2=5 is wrong no matter whos mouth it comes from.

5. Run Away and Come Back.

This almost always happens in conjunction with #3. The skeptic will simply leave, then come back at a later time. (usually giving the same bad argument that was refuted).

6. Baseless Assertions.

The skeptic simply asserts and provides absolutely no evidence to back up what he says. These baseless assertions can be found in many forms, ranging from "The logic in your argument is wrong." to "Your argument is easily refutable." Skeptics usually engage in #5 when pressed to provide evidence for their assertions.

7. Sarcastic snide remarks

These are the sarcastic, snide rude insults. We've all seen them, no need to go through them. The same skeptics that whine about ad hominems from Christians are conveniently silent when their peers do it.

8. Emotional arguments

When reason and logic and science no longer work, the skeptic resorts to arguments filled with emotion designed to tug at your heartstrings. "What about all the babies that died in the flood." "Your God is a cruel mean God that doesn't care."

9. Hypocrisy and Double Standards

The skeptic starts off by criticizing God with a poor argument along the lines of the following: "God is all loving, all powerful, and all knowing and sending people to hell for their sin is wrong." The Christian responds with bible verses showing the skeptic how ignorant he is in regards to Christianity and the characteristics of God. The skeptic then replies with something along the lines of, "How do you know what the bible says about God is true?" or "You haven't demonstrated the bible is true or God exists."
So it's ok for the skeptic to use the bible to criticize God and Christianity, but when the Christian uses it to defend God and Christianity, it's not ok to use the bible? Last time I checked, this is Christianity, and the religion of Christianity is found within the bible. The characteristics of the Christian God are found in the bible.

The Hiddenness of God?

I found it rather ironic that Justin Vacula decided to open his argument with a excerpt from Calvin and Hobbes, since his argument contains all of the illogical and emotional reasoning one would expect from a child the age of Calvin. Enter the argument from Divine Hiddenness:

Atheists (and theists) wonder why -- since it is the case that theists profess God wants everyone to believe he exists – God simply doesn't unequivocally reveal himself so that persons can 'enter into a relationship' with God, no longer doubt, stop fighting one another because of religious differences, and go to Heaven. An all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing god should have no problem revealing himself to persons and should want to do so considering he is all-loving [he wants persons to avoid Hell and enter into Heaven]. Why, then, doesn't God just stop playing hide-and-seek and reveal himself?

This argument is already a non starter due to the fact that Justin, like so many other ignorant skeptics and theists, think that the "the all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing god" somehow accurately describes the Christian God. It doesn't. The problem here how people inaccurately define the 'all-loving' part as some sort of fuzzy, feel good, warm emotion. It's more synonymous with 'happy' or 'wants to make people happy' than it is with the word love. One look the bible will see that God does things that do not match up with the warm, fuzzy, feel good definition of the word love.

Not only is his inaccurate description of God a major problem, his argument typically displays the same ol' double standard of logic and reasoning that skeptics only apply to religion and not to anything else. When people want to work for walmart, they neither demand nor expect the CEO of walmart to meet with them before they apply. When people enlist in the military, they neither expect nor demand the leaders of the specific branch to personally meet with them before they enlist. If the CEO of walmart or the leader of a military branch doesn't meet with the average joe before they enlist in the military or send in an application for walmart, why would anyone expect God, who is the creator of the universe, expect such a thing?

Rebuttals I predict from skeptics:

Rebuttal A: "Difference between the CEO, military leaders and God is God loves us!"

This is an emotional argument. Since when does love logically entail person X must personally meet with person Y before person Y joins in a cause. Furthermore, it reveals the ignorance of basic Christian theology. God loves us, and yet God has done some things that would seem very unloving according to the feel good fuzzy warm definition of 'love' that is presented in rebuttal A. Love, especially the feel good fuzzy definition of love that would be used in rebuttal A, does not logically entail God would meet with people personally before they want to become a Christian.

Rebuttal B:
"The CEO and the military leaders can't meet with everyone at once, but God is omnipotent, He can do anything! He has the power to meet with everyone at once."

Just because someone has the power to do X does not mean they are required to do X. I certainly have the power to track down Vacula (with my knowledge of programming and computers) and beat the snot out of him (being trained in fighting) and yet I am not required to do that. Secondly, while the CEOs and military leaders cannot meet with everyone, they can meet with some, and yet they do not.

That's about the gist of it. This 'why doesn't God reveal Himself to me' line of logic not only fails, but it never had any start to begin with. Like most 'arguments' skeptics give, their logic applies SOLELY to religion and if one were to apply the same type of logic to anything else, they would rightly be considered an idiot.

His argument isn't the only thing sorely lacking in this department. He also can't seem to tell the difference between belief and faith, which I believe stems from his elementary or non existent knowledge of Christianity. This guy has created 7 rebuttals to 7 'defenses' he claims theists bring up in response to his argument. A lot of these defenses I would never use, so I will only go over the ones I myself would use.

Defense (1): Humans would not have free will if God unequivocally revealed himself.

Is it really the case that persons would lose free will if God unequivocally revealed himself? I'm quite skeptical. Many persons today will profess that God does exist and really do believe. Some, for whatever reason, will attest that their belief in God is warranted, profess belief in Heaven and Hell, and believe that their sins could result in eternal torment. Despite all of this, theists who profess very strong beliefs continue to sin. While God hasn't unequivocally revealed himself to everyone, these people will believe that God has revealed himself through the 'design' of the universe, an answered prayer, or something else...and they still sin. Additionally, these people, theists will allege, still have free will. It seems that defense (1), then, fails.

First off, God revealing Himself unequivocally is not the same thing as revealing Himself through nature or a prayer. That failure of logic is enough to destroy his 'rebuttal of defense (1), since an unequivocal revelation of God is not the same thing as revealing Himself through design and prayer, but it would be wrong not to continue on. His second error is asserting that Defense 1 fails because Christians continue to sin. Again, this bad reasoning all boils down to complete and utter lack of even the most basic knowledge of Christianity. First off, Christians continue to sin and will continue to sin, because we are imperfect and we live in an imperfect world. Belief in God, faith in God, doesn't stop all sin. It should severely limits it, but it will not stop all sin. God revealing Himself to man unequivocally will kill us since it clearly says in the bible "None who see my face sha'll live." (exodus 33:20.) and that "God dwells in a light unapproachable that no man has seen or can't see." (I Tim. 6:16).

Defense (3): Faith is important and is only possible if God doesn't unequivocally reveal himself.

Defense (3) assumes that faith is important and seems to assume that without faith, belief in God is worthless. Why is this the case? Is not belief the important thing regardless of faith? Are those who currently believe and do not profess faith (but rather profess that arguments alone are good enough reason to believe) somehow 'doing it wrong?' Will these people not enter into a proper union with God?

Vacula is severely lacking in basic Christian theology. These are easily answered with common scripture.

"Defense (3) assumes that faith is important and seems to assume that without faith, belief in God is worthless. Why is this the case?"

How he thinks he is qualified to refute a single thing regarding Christianity when he doesn't even know Hebrews 11:6 is beyond me.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God.

Also, he wonders why without faith belief in God is worthless. Again, a very common scripture in James 2:19 answers his question.

James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.

To answer his question, yes they are doing it wrong. The demons obviously believe in the existence of God. Satan, obviously believes in the existence of God and yes, they are doing it wrong.

Defense (5): God can't intervene often because there would be no stable natural regularities. (Swinburne argue this although this is probably more relevant to natural and moral evil theodicies).

Defense (5) is very suspect and ignores the fact that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. Why should we assume that there would be no natural regularities if God intervened in human affairs? Suppose that God were to strike down Hitler in order to prevent World War II (and such an action would indeed stop World War II). Would we then believe that this would suddenly entail that there would be no natural regularities? I don't see any good reasons to believe so.

The idea of God's intervention removing natural regularities (or, perhaps, to be more charitable, causing us to believe that some natural regularities might not be constant) seems quite funny [and leading to special pleading] considering that theists believe God has intervened in human affairs including but not limited to God raising Jesus from the dead. Some theists also believe that God answers prayers that would interfere with the free will of other persons. If theists maintain that Jesus raising from the dead and God's answering of prayer doesn't take away free will or natural regularities, how can they possibly maintain that God's intervention in there here and now, the future, or even in the past (minus the miracles, of course) would take away free will or natural regularities? The theist, it seems, would be forced to argue -- if he/she were to maintain that God's intervention would not take away free will or natural regularities – that free will 'works differently' from time to time, God's intervention in times past somehow did not take away free will, the free will of people in times past was not cherished like it is for people today, or something else.

Vacula is right, this is more along the lines of problems of evil than it is about God hiding. In anycase, the key word here Vacula is the word OFTEN. If God often intervened than there would be no natural constant. If God often raised people from the dead, instead of doing it for specific number of people some 2,000 years ago, this planet would be vastly overpopulated. If God often answered prayers that messed with the free will of people (I'm not even going to argue that He does that, I will just assume HE does for the sake of argument) then there would be little to no free will. The key word here is, often.

Yes, I will maintain that God raising Jesus and a specific amount of people from the dead some 2,000 years ago does not disrupt the natural regularities as much if God raised everyone from the dead all the time. Yes, I will maintain that God affecting the free will of others through the answering of the prayers of a specific number of people does not disrupt the natural regularities as much as if God did that for everyone. It has nothing to do with whether free will is cherished as much back than as it is today and everything to do with how much can prayers like that be answered before there is no longer any natural regularities.

Defense (7): Why expect God to reveal himself? It is the responsibility of humans to find God, not God's responsibility to reveal himself to humans.

This objection largely misses the point of the problem of divine hiddenness to being with: if God is all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful, why shouldn't he reveal himself to humans? If the theist contests that it is the responsibility of humans to find God, this doesn't address the problem, but only shifts the responsibility. Further, if humans are to find God, doesn't this mean that God should have devised a more effective way of aiding humans to this goal? The 'ball' is back in 'God's court.'

Framing this in terms of responsibility might also be unhelpful. The problem really isn't about responsibility, but rather is that God -- since he is all-loving and all-powerful -- has no good reason to remain hidden and has every reason to make himself known.

Who says shifting responsibility doesn't solve the problem? that is just a baseless assertion with absolutely no evidence to support it. Here's an example of how shifting responsibility solves a problem. Problem, my iphone broke because of a hardware issue. If I shift the responsibility from my dog, who has absolutely nothing to do with my phone being broken, to the apple company, who sold me a busted phone, the problem is solved because I get a new phone. God didn't design an effective way? that's yet another baseless assertion. You don't think its effective? go ahead and give me something other than your bare opinion to back that up. A free gift that gets you out of eternal torment is pretty effective to me.

As you can see, Vacula is neither competent in logic or Christian theology. Just another lightweight intellectually shallow skeptic that thinks his arguments are something new under the sun. Laughable.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Praise be to God!!

Thank you God for the gift of your Son, so that I might be redeemed.